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How to get over Mock CAT woes and issues?

The most common query to flood my inbox these days: I am so and so person, I have been giving Mocks, and faring terribly in them. I don’t know what to do. I need a plan to get through. Is there enough time? Should I give CAT or drop the idea of sitting for the exam? What exactly should I do?

Well, the answers to these questions depend upon some key questions:

1. Why are you giving CAT in the first place?
If the answer is peer pressure, or the fact that you had nothing else to do, then it might be a good idea to leave the preparation at this stage. If you have one genuine reason to sit for the exam (and wanting to work at management levels or wanting to earning a good salary account as genuine reasons), then you should most definitely work your way around things.

2. What is your current preparation level and what kind of efforts are you putting in?
Keeping it simple and short: are you happy with the effort you are putting in? For most of you, the answer would be a no. Now this is a key problem. Find a solution for this problem. For the next few weeks, you would have to give up something. Other than fitness related activities, most other things can go. Are they gone or still sticking to your daily schedule? Make a quick check and see how you can reform your activities.

Now that we are done with two basics questions for which you would have to find your own answers, let’s get to the business end of this post.

What is going wrong with your Mock CATs?
The first thing that you need to do is analyze mocks. We have a post for how to do that here. If you have carried out the analysis for some of the mocks, you should be able to spot something very important: there are always and I mean always questions that you should have solved in the exam but they skipped your attention and you were busy solving questions you had no business of doing in the first place. Well, address this question with a simple hack: focus on your core strength areas, and make sure you solve all questions from these areas. The next thing that you have to identify is whether you are scoring too many negatives in the exam. If that is the case, eliminate this as well. Try this for a couple of mocks and see what kind of improvement you observe in your scores.

Now the tricky part: you are done with the above, have maximized your score and still cannot perform well.

The questions we probed at the start are important now.

Is there enough time for improvement?

Technically, there is a lot of time. It all depends on how you use it. Remember, CAT tests you on logic and not on rote learning. So there is time.

Should I give CAT or drop the idea of sitting for the exam?
If you had a reason to sit for the exam in the first place, then the answer is no, absolutely not. Try to formulate what needs to done. This brings us to the next question.

What exactly should I do?

For Quantitative Ability:
To begin with, make a list of topics you are comfortable with. You need to cover one topic from this list every week. Strengths should be strengthened.
From the list of topics which are the problem, make sure you cover one topic every week. This way, you are covering both bases. Remember, at this stage, do not think about leaving topics. At this stage, try to cover as many as possible. You can think about topic selection at a later stage.

For Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning:
Practice sets every day. Seriously, 2 to 3 sets a day are a must. Simply do that.

For Verbal Ability:
Reading and RCs, two things you should place emphasis on. Make sure these two are sorted and the others would follow.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Do not focus on how much time has gone, and how you could have done better.
  • Focus on weekly improvement, set smaller milestones and focus on the process and not the results.
  • Ensure you have your doubts cleared from your faculties.
  • Remember what needs to be done for each area. Do not bother yourself by thinking about what will happen in CAT, whether you doing the right thing and so on.
  • Keep in mind: If you are terrible in Quantitative Ability, work on Data Interpretation. If you are terrible in Data Interpretation, work on Quantitative Ability. Try to make sure that you can do well in one of these two parts. Remember, the section is important. Same thing applies for the second section of the exam.
  • If you put in genuine effort, whatever the results, you would feel satisfied that you did your best. Better to focus on the effort than results.
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